Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture

By Richard Padovan | Go to book overview

Chapter twelve

RENAISSANCE COSMOLOGY

The mathematical things are the cause of the physical because God from the beginning of time carried within himself in simple and divine abstraction the things as prototypes of the materially planned quantities.1


12.1EMPATHIC AND ABSTRACT TENDENCIES

Two contrasting directions can be discerned in Renaissance cosmology, both of which led eventually to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century: to Galileo, Descartes and Newton. The first direction was inspired chiefly by mathematics, and it was principally the work of Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). The second, represented by the thought of Nicholas Cusanus (c. 1400-64) and Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), was more speculative and philosophical in nature. The first, which in Kepler’s words regarded ‘the mathematical things as the cause of the physical’, may be described as tending towards empathy; the second, towards abstraction.

Like almost every aspect of the Renaissance, both tendencies were rooted in the past. Frances Yates’ remark is again relevant: ‘The great forward movements of the Renaissance all derive their vigour, their emotional impulse, from looking backwards.’2 They looked backwards, however, to a different past; and they also moved forwards in contrasting directions. The past to which Copernicus and Kepler looked back was the mathematical universe of Plato’s Timaeus and Euclid’s Elements. The ideas of Cusanus and Bruno were likewise influenced by Neoplatonism, but they had roots also in a more recent period. Cusanus has been described as ‘the last great philosopher of the dying Middle

1. J. Kepler, quoted in M. Caspar, John Kepler, New York, 1960, p. 67.

2. F.A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Routledge & Kegan Paul/University of Chicago Press, 1964, p. 1.

-237-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Proportion: Science, Philosophy, Architecture
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 388

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.